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Natalie Wood

May Have Struggled for Hours

Before She Died

11/18/2011 6:07 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF

Natalie Wood
Natalie Wood
was wearing a red down jacket when authorities discovered her body 30 years ago ... and her wardrobe could prove she floated alive in dark water for hours while Robert Wagner allegedly stalled rescue efforts.

Marti Rulli -- the author of the book that triggered cops to re-open the investigation into Wood's death -- performed a forensic test on down coats similar to Natalie's ... which proved a down jacket acts like a life preserver in water ... "it will not sink, but instead remains floating."

Rulli's finding completely contradicts the opinion of the coroner in the case -- who insisted the jacket would have sapped Natalie's strength and weighed her down in the ocean.

Wood's body was discovered in the ocean off Catalina Island -- hours after she went missing from a cruise with her husband Robert Wagner and Christopher Walken.

Originally, law enforcement believed Wood slipped off the boat while trying to tie down a dinghy. But now, cops have doubts ... after the captain revealed Wood and Wagner had been arguing intensely before she went missing.

The captain also claimed Wagner instructed the crew to NOT call in the Coast Guard to aid in search and rescue efforts once they realized Natalie had gone missing.

95 COMMENTS

No Avatar
1.

CountryGal    

Robert Wagner did it. Justice for the beautiful and talented Natalie please.

1038 days ago
2.

Sarafina    

I always thought Wagner was covering up. Just because the book came out, they reopened the investigation? Should have been MUCH sooner...like within a year or something.

1038 days ago
3.

anony    

WHY is TMZ helping to WASTE EVERYONE'S TIME with this.
She was drunk and fell in the water. She was wearing a nightgown. If she didn't drown, she would have died from hypothermia.

1038 days ago
4.

kersti    

i feel so bad for her if she was killed i hope she gets justice

1038 days ago
5.

Bunnie    

I'm wondering what she was" mortified" at.And where was Walken during all this fighting?

1038 days ago
6.

Muppet    

They didn't find it at all strange that he didn't want the coastguard called? Unreal!! They should've called them anyway if that was SOP!!!

1038 days ago
7.

Rhubino    

Did the captain remain a captain after this incident? It doesn't sound like he was very responsible either, bowing down to Wagner's "instructions" to not call the Coast Guard. It doesn't matter who the owner or boss of the yacht is, if you're the captain and lose someone overboard, you call the Coast Guard and more.

1038 days ago
8.

SantaFeJack    

She was stoned on Quaaludes and alcohol. She was on a boat on the sea at night. How difficult is it to understand what happened? I watched the Today Show interview with the capt. and the author this morning...what a load of bs! They are only in it to sell books and make a buck from suckers.

1038 days ago
9.

MIDNIGHT TOKER    

this is already getting old and its only been a few hours..enough of this old drunk,,she is nothing but bones now so let it be..noone really cares..
they are just trying to make a buck

1038 days ago
10.

Phreaky    

It's nice that they are interested in this case again, and I think most people (at the time) felt that there was more to this story and that Robert Wagner probably had something to do with it - there just won't be enough concrete evidence to do anything. They will poke around here and there, but unless Robert Wagner completely forgets what he told police (doubtful) and says something totally new, this case just isn't going to go anywhere.

1038 days ago
11.

CountryGal    

Some of the people on here are total pigs. If it was your family member you would want it solved no matter how long it took. We have a woman who was so petrified of water she wouldn't go in a swimming pool drowning in the middle of the night. When they find her she's in a nightgown with bruises on her. The husband wouldn't let the captain call the coast guard to look for her. Put it all together and it screams murder. Oh and I know people who are scared to death of water who will still go on a boat so don't say " if she was scared of water why was she on a boat?"

1038 days ago
12.

Annie     

Sadly for Natalie, they have allowed Wagner to live basically his whole life free. Even if they do uncover enough evidence to charge him now it is an insult to justice.

1038 days ago
13.

HamptonsHarry    

The captain is telling the truth. He held back all these years and can't take it anymore. The sister said he calls crying to her and apologizing for not doing more. Why won't Robert Wagner talk to Natalie's sister? He did it and he is about to pay.

1037 days ago
14.

the real diva    

hopefully the truth will come out and natalies family can be at peace. may natalie rest in peace.

1037 days ago
15.

jeff    

Where do you come up with this stuff? Struggled for hours?? If left alone, sober, she would have died from hypothermia in 1/2 hr to 45 minutes.

1037 days ago
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